The 2016 Summer Olympic Games will soon commence in Rio de Janeiro, but Mario and Sonic are looking to begin the festivities early this year. Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is now available for the Nintendo 3DS, and it’s your opportunity to take home an Olympic Gold medal. While Wii U owners will have to wait for that version to finish it’s Olympic training as it won’t see release for a few more months, those with a 3DS can now participate in 3DS exclusive events and begin their quest to become an Olympic champion. Is Mario & Sonic 2016 3DS a gold medal winner?
Upon starting Mario & Sonic 2016, players are welcomed and instructed to select their Mii and the country in which they want to represent. Once the introduction pleasantries are complete, you’ll find yourself on the game’s main screen and ready to begin the game. There are four main modes featured in the game: Quick Play, Road to Rio, Versus Mode, and Pocket Marathon. Now, one of these modes is unlike the rest. Can you guess which one is different?
That’s right; the answer is Pocket Marathon. While the other modes have you compete in various Olympic events or train for the Olympic games, Pocket Marathon is a more personal endeavor as it challenges you finish a full marathon – which is slightly more than 26 miles. By placing your 3DS in your pocket and taking it with you on your daily activities, the game will count your steps and put them towards the completion of a full marathon. As you reach certain distance milestones, you’ll unlock items to use in the main game, which helps keep folks motivated.
This game mode is a nice bonus for those who take their 3DS with them every day, and provides an incentive for others to do so. Personally, I will be taking my 3DS with me now daily so that I can see how long it takes me to walk a full marathon.
For your moments of leisure, you will want to play the other game modes: Quick Play, Road to Rio, or Versus Mode. Quick Play is best for when you want to enjoy a quick sporting activity. Players can select from 14 different events and compete to win the Gold, improve upon your personal best time/score, or break records. To create even more play options and add in a bit of variety, all of the sport events have a remixed version known as a Plus Event. These Plus Events take the core sport, but mix in Mario or Sonic themes to create a more lighthearted and fun focused game. For example, in Plus Golf you’ll find that golf courses are packed with ramps, on-course obstacles, and that scoring the lowest on a hole will reward you with a Star Coin.
When compared to the Olympic Golf event, which plays as a traditional golf game, you’ll find that Plus Golf is more entertaining to play. That’s not to say the traditional versions of the sports and events aren’t entertaining in their own right, but the Plus Events are what you’ll find yourself playing for a quick ‘pick up and play’ type distraction. The Plus Events complement the traditional events nicely to create a fresh selection of sports and events for the player to enjoy.
Although the game is well suited for short bursts of gaming thanks to Quick Play, those looking to get more from the game will find a lot of content in the Road to Rio mode. Acting as the title’s Story Mode, Road to Rio follows you as you train for the Rio Olympic Games. After a brief introduction, you are welcomed by a pair of characters whom represent the gym and training facilities of Team Mario and Team Sonic. You will then take part in some training exercises that introduce you to some of the game’s sports and control methods – as some use the stylus and touch-screen, while others use a more traditional button approach.
After participating in several simple events, you will have to decide which gym you side with and then your journey to the Olympic Games begins. Upon making your decision, you compete in preliminary rounds and attempt to finish in the top 2 places amongst competitors. Once you succeed and advance beyond the preliminaries, you’ll face-off against your rival in the final round of competition.
Based on your performance during events and in training, your Mii will gain experience and level up their stats. Training is brief and serves the purpose of familiarizing yourself with the basics of the Olympic Event – this way you have a good understanding on how to play the event. To coincide with your leveled up stats, you may also customize your Mii with lavish outfits. Outfits can be purchased or found hidden in chests scattered throughout the city. Outfits not only give your Mii a new fashionable look, but they also increase certain stats.
Training and equipping yourself with quality outfits is important as you’ll need the stat boosts to overcome the skills of your rivals in later events.
Road to Rio is a basic story mode, but the sense of competition and the need to master events prior to partaking in the Olympic Games creates a fun atmosphere and a reason to keep playing. Bonuses like unlockable characters provide extra motivation to keep advancing until you win the Gold medal in each event.
Versus Mode is the final playable game mode available in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for Nintendo 3DS. Allowing for two or four friends to compete in events, you can play against friends locally who have a copy of the game, or you can use the 3DS’ Download Play functionality, which only requires one copy of the game. Playing with friends is fun as each event is competitive in nature, thus meaning you’ll have some intense back and forth games against friends and family. Thanks to the game’s range of playable sporting events, it’s easy to find a handful that your friends and family will enjoy playing.
Unfortunately, Versus Mode cannot be played online and, as a result, this reduces the appeal of the title for those who don’t know folks with a 3DS. With the game’s hefty sport events offerings, and the addition of the Plus Events, the game really could have benefited from an online mode as the majority of the sports are a lot of fun.
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has all the makings to be a strong multiplayer game for Nintendo 3DS, but it fails to stick the landing due to the misstep of not including an online multiplayer. With a robust offering of sport events, energetic soundtrack, and quality graphics, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is a great game for children who have friends or family members with a Nintendo 3DS.
- Entertaining sporting events
- Fun local multiplayer
- Upbeat soundtrack
- No online multiplayer
- Some weak sporting events
(Editor’s Note: A copy of Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for 3DS was provide by Nintendo for review purposes.)